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SubjectRe: DMABOUNCE in pci-rcar
On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 08:49:28AM +0900, Magnus Damm wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 8:00 PM, Arnd Bergmann <> wrote:
> >From my point of view we need some kind of bounce buffer unless we
> have IOMMU support. I understand that an IOMMU would be much better
> than a software-based implementation. If it is possible to use an
> IOMMU with these devices remain to be seen.
> I didn't know about the SWIOTLB code, neither did I know that
> DMABOUNCE was supposed to be avoided. Now I do!

The reason DMABOUNCE should be avoided is because it is a known source
of OOMs, and that has never been investigated and fixed. You can read
about some of the kinds of problems this code creates here:

That was never got to the bottom of. I could harp on about not having
the hardware, the people with the hardware not being capable of debugging
it, or not willing to litter their kernels with printks when they've
found a reproducable way to trigger it, etc - but none of that really

What matters is the end result is nothing was ever done to investigate
the causes, so it remains "unsafe" to use.

> I do realize that my following patches madly mix potential bus code
> and actual device support, however..
> [PATCH v2 06/08] PCI: rcar: Add DMABOUNCE support
> [PATCH 07/08] PCI: rcar: Enable BOUNCE in case of HIGHMEM
> .. without my patches the driver does not handle CONFIG_BOUNCE and

Can we please kill the idea that CONFIG_VMSPLIT_* has something to do
with DMA? It doesn't. VMSPLIT sets where the boundary between userspace
and kernel space is placed in virtual memory. It doesn't really change
which memory is DMA-able.

There is the BLK_BOUNCE_HIGH option, but that's more to do with drivers
saying "I don't handle highmem pages because I'm old and no one's updated

The same is true of highmem vs bouncing for DMA. Highmem is purely a
virtual memory concept and has /nothing/ to do with whether the memory
can be DMA'd to.

Let's take an extreme example. Let's say I set a 3G VM split, so kernel
memory starts at 0xc0000000. I then set the vmalloc space to be 1024M -
but the kernel strinks that down to the maximum that can be accomodated,
which leaves something like 16MB of lowmem. Let's say I have 512MB of
RAM in the machine.

Now let's consider I do the same thing, but with a 2G VM split. Has the
memory pages which can be DMA'd to changed at all? Yes, the CPU's view
of pages has changed, but the DMA engine's view hasn't changed /one/ /bit/.

Now consider when vmalloc space isn't expanded to maximum and all that
RAM is mapped into the kernel direct mapped region. Again, any
difference as far as the DMA engine goes? No there isn't.

So, the idea that highmem or vmsplit has any kind of impact on whether
memory can be DMA'd to by the hardware is absolutely absurd.

VMsplit and highmem are a CPU visible concept, and has very little to do
with whether the memory is DMA-able.

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improving, and getting towards what was expected from it.

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